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Calling a Raise

Calling a Raise a successful tournament player will have one thing firmly in mind. What is absolutely critical for mastery on the tournament trail knows which starting hands qualify for a raising hand and which hands qualify for calling/raising when someone else has raised. an outstanding player will have a clear image of which hands are which.

Let's look at a few examples to demonstrate my point.

Suppose you are in a Texas Hold 'Em tournament. The blinds started at $5 and $10 and are $25 and $50 when you catch a king-jack off suit. The button is three players to your left. What do you do? Well, I can't really answer what you would do, I might raise. I would make the bet $100 if no one had raised before the action got to me. My reasoning for raising is an attempt to drive out the players behind me, to try to force the blinds to fold and to create a situation in which I could win the pot whether or not I improved on the flop. Simple, straightforward and tournament play, right? I don't have a great hand, but I might have the best hand at that moment. If I make an aggressive move, I stand a much better chance r of winning the pot.

When I catch the king-jack off suit in that situation, a simple call is the wrong move. I want to be the aggressor. I want to dictate the way that particular hand is played. I want to dominate the play of that hand.

If someone between me and the button should call me, I must make the assumption that this person has a viable hand. He might have a better hand. Not only could he have a better hand, he certainly has position on me. My situation is now perilous. I hope to improve on the flop, preferably with a jack as the high card. If I do not improve, I must calculate if I should risk another $50 to try to drive out the player.

again, this is straightforward tournament play.

We have all seen it many times. Now, the same situation I catch the same king-jack off suit. This time the player to my right raises. Now what do you do? Do you call? No! a call is wrong! Wrong! The correct play is to fold.

am I losing you? The same hand, the same position, and you should not even call? That king-jack is not a calling hand. What the player just told you with his raise (providing the player is an average sane individual) is that he has a good hand. That king-jack hand is a definite dog to the other player. Even if you have position on him, you should throw your hand away.

Let me illustrate. What if you call with that pig hand and catch a jack on the flop. The player bets out again. What do you do? Call? Raise? You have a problem because there is a chance the other player that raised has one of the big pairs. Suppose you catch a king on the flop and the other player bets out. You still have a problem because of your kicker. about the only hands you can beat is a pair of queens or a king-ten. Save your money for when you can control the action.

My point is that to be a good tournament player, you must be very clear as to what hands you can call a raise with and what hands you can raise with. Don't be fooled. Those cards look exactly the same, a king-jack looks just exactly like a king-jack. However, the circumstances are vastly different. One time you raise with it, another time you throw those losing cards away.
 

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